Sunday, March 28, 2010

Comic Review: The Land Of Oz (Arrow Comics)

Acting as a continuation to the Dark Oz series, The Land Of Oz happens in a brand new timeline, although still set in the same universe as the previous Oz comics from Caliber Comics and Arrow Comics. Thanks to Ozma's dipping into the reality-altering Book of Undo, she has reset things in Oz prior to the Nome King's original takeover from ten years previously. So, a few things that are different is that Dorothy never aged physically into an adult, and most of the regular Oz heroes never took on more humanoid forms like Lion.

The series takes place directly after the prelude chapter from Arrow Anthology issue #4, where the pilot Travis, his fiance Cat, and her younger brother Sean had crashed their plane within the land of Ev, and were surrounded by Wheelers. They are saved by the straggled royal army lead by King Evardo and his cousin Langwidere(the one with the head fixation), along with their wizard commrade known as "Friend". They let their new American friends know about how Ev has been taken over by the evil Dolnar who was using the Magic Belt, along with the witch Singra(which was the name given to the Wicked Witch of the South in some books), and the disgruntled Wheelers. So the King and his men were on their way to Oz to seek help from Ozma. She in turn has been in a coma since she restarted the everything, and she also seems to be the only one who knows that everything's changed. Evardo and his party arrive in the Emerald City and let them know that Dolnar's forces are heading to conquer Oz. While everyone else holds a council meeting, Sean talks to the Gump who is now just a talking head on the wall. He tells Sean about a hidden passage that leads the boy down into a secret workshop filled with spellbooks. Dolnar attacks the Emerald City with Singra and the Wheelers. Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, along with the combined Ev and Oz forces take them on, and friend manages to get the Magic Belt away from Dolnar. Ultimately, it is Sean who appears using a magic cane(which might be the Nome King's)who channels an unknown voice to use sorcery, and stops them. Singra whips the Magic Cap out of nowhere and summons the flying monkeys to escape along with Dolnar. Afterwards, Scarecrow calls in Wogglebug for advice on how to resuscitate Ozma, who suggests seeking out Glinda. In order to make the journey, Sean uses a batch of the Powder of Life he found in the lab and uses it to bring a tin horse to life for Tin Man. Along with the Sawhorse, the Three Kings and their new Earthling friends travel to Glinda's castle, only to find that it has disappeared. There is some blinding white null space surrounding the area where it should be, so our heroes go into it to investgate. They end up getting captured by the warrior Princess Evoria and her troops, and are brought before their Mage Lord. He accuses the Three Kings of leading a wake of devastation, although its really their evil counterparts that were originally under the Nome King's control. After it becomes clear that the visiting Ozians are not the evil ones, they are set free. Meanwhile, a now younger Dorothy is wandering with Toto alone in the kingdom of Oakdale, where they are reunited with the Wizard of Oz. He takes them to the King and Queen of Oakdale whom he had previously befriended(apparently sometime in the past of this new continuity). He has a balloon constructed to send the Wizard and Dorothy back to Oz, but they are suddenly confronted by a mob of elves. They come to warn them about the oncoming evil army, but they brought with them the good Three Kings who are reunited with Dorothy. The evil Three Kings arrive, but they also have dark versions of Jack Pumpkinhead, Sawhorse, and Hungry Tiger with them. Meanwhile, Ozma is back in Oz under the watch of Wogglebug, and fighting her own personal dark side within her mind. Once she comes to terms with her own other half, the evil versions of the other Ozians disappear, while the rest of the nomes head for the hills. The Oz heroes return home with Princess Evoria(who is also called Karina)to find that Ozma has come out her coma.

This is where that storyline ends, but it was also the last issue of the entire Oz/Dark Oz/The Land Of Oz saga. Like Dark Oz, its currently unknown if this will be reprinted by Transfuzion Publishing, although it was hinted that Stuart Kerr and Ralph Griffith were planning on continuing the series past this point once they got this part to trade paperback. Bryan Bryan is still the artist, but the writing was taken over by Gary Bishop. I'd recommend tracking down this comic mostly for the lighter tone that it took with the characters to the more traditional whimsical Oz-type story.

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